6th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers. ‘
– In view of the fact that the Prime Minister’s manifesto to the Anzacs has been laid on the table of the Senate, have the Government any objection to the newspapers printing it if they so desire? I understand that the newspapers have been refused the right ‘ to publish the manifesto.
– I ask the honorable senator to give notice of a question for tomorrow.
– There will not be much time.
– Well, for a later hour of the day.
– Is the Leader of the Government here yet in a position to answer the question I forecasted last Thursday evening as to whether it was. the intention of the Government to re-enact the regulation in connexion with the censorship which we disallowed a couple of weeks ago ?
– The honorable senator asked a question under two headings.
What he has referred to now relates to one portion of his question. His first question was -
Is it the intention of the Government, as stated in the Herald, on the 8th inst., to re-enact Statutory Rule No. 204, which was recently disallowed by the Senate?
The answer to that question is “ The matter is being considered.”
– I want to ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence a question in reference to the statement in to-day’s newspaper, that it is the intention . of the military authorities to create or appoint a permanent guard. Is it intended to create a new permanent military unit outside the Kitchener scheme, or is it to be permanent only in the sense of being for the time of the war ?
– Will the honorable senator give notice of the question?
– The honorable senator’s idea of rapidity of motion seems to have altered lately.
– The father of. one man was complaining in the precincts of the Senate last night that his son had just been arrested under the proclamation.
Order of the day for the resumption of the debate, adjourned from 14th December (vide page 9879), on motion bySenator Grant, discharged.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended, and Bill read a first time.
– In moving -
That this Bill be now read a second time,
I should perhaps begin with an explanation as to its necessity. It marks a new departure in legislation in this Parliament. So far as the working out of democratic rule in this country is concerned, . we feel that we are for the first time abreast of a condition of things which requires action. If we do not take action the responsibility will rest upon those who are charged with controlling the affairs of this country.
– Not. too tenderly? Six months seems to me to be very tender as a penalty.
– I have always thought he stood to his post.
– To what crimes does the Minister refer?
– This Bill does not deal with members who preach that doctrine unless they are members of an unlawful organization.
– The Bill does notdeal with them.
– On the ground that we wanted it.
– I do not pretend that I could, even if I tried, work up any enthusiasm for this Bill, in the way that the Minister for Works has done. In my opinion, it is scarcely worth the time that we are asked to devote to its consideration. In saying that, I hardly think it necessary to assume that honorable senators have as strong a loathing of the crimes which are recited in the measure as it is possible for civilized beings to have. There cart be no sympathy with such crimes. But when Senator Lynch urged that these crimes were of so serious a nature that we could not afford to deal tenderly with them, I could not refrain from interjecting that so severely do the Government propose to deal with them that under this Bill they contemplate imposing a punishment of six months’ imprisonment.
– But there is deportation as well.
– It is also an organization.
– Does the honorable senator know that the Industrial Workers o£ the World obtained 100,000 members in America during the first year of its existence ?
– It might not be correct.
– We have had to fight that in every union.
– Seeing that these men are against the Labour party, may there not be a few of them in some of the Liberal organizations?
– I can mention some I.W.W. men who voted for you at the last election.
– They, only used you to beat me.
– I did not say that. T. say that unionism has a strong hold of it.
– But they are controlled now by the Cook party.
.- Like the Leader of the Opposition, I have no desire to take the. Bill seriously. The Minister introducing it spoke in a strain of such deadly earnest that I really began to think, while not looking at the Bill, that the Government were in earnest. If the evils arising from the organization to which he referred are so great, surely the Government could have introduced a Bill that would have been operative over a ‘longer period than “ the war and six months thereafter, but no longer.” If evils which are pointed to with so much enthusiasm and earnestness are such a grave menace to our existing society, why are they a menace only during the’ term of the war and for six months thereafter?
– Do you mean that the Small Arms Factory is paying a bad day’s wage?
– Do you know the constitution of the Industrial Workers of the World ?
– But the Labour party never preached those doctrines.
– Some of theunions did not.
– I never . used the term.
– Your leader did it during the referendum campaign.
– Absolutely no.
– Senator Lynch said so a few minutes ago.
– Was that motion carried unanimously?
– I think Senator Gardiner said something about it.
– Our’ alleged masters.
– Give a lawyer a good case, and you will soon see.
– But men are no longer honest if they practise the “go-slow” policy.
– The Judges have frequently brought these practices under notice.
– No; their policy is to ruin employers and to abolish the wage system.
– Yes it did, and we had a Royal Commission to inquire into that matter.
– Would such a coal owner be an I.W.W. man?
– If coal owners did that, would you treat them now in the same way as I.W.W. men ?
– They are opposed to all political control, so that is not quite a fair inference.
– Who was the dog? Senator GARDINER.- I think Senator McDougall and myself were the two candidates who, were to be beaten with the Liberal stick. I can instance also an occasion when the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate and I came in contact with the I.W.W. men at a meeting on the Yarra-bank on a certain Sunday afternoon. On that occasion we found the men declaiming against our then leader, Mr. Fisher, and I venture to say that only force of circumstances and the fact that we were members of the Federal Parliament prevented us from dealing out just retribution to the speakers.
– Is the honorable senator aware that one of the Yarra-bank speakers referred to tools a prominent part in the attempt to drive Mr. Hughes out of the Waterside Workers Federation ?
– Well, I am, and I know it. for a fact.
– Quite true; I admit that.
– He never made that accusation.
-The tact that the Bill isherewill act as a deterrent.
– You will never plant acorns then. They would take too long to grow.
– Do you know any Act which has been an unqualified success in every way?
– Do you admit that it exists ?
– You have a wrong idea.
– Prove a case.
– Mention one case.
– Do not do that, but mention one case.
– Now you say that they were discontents and Industrial Workers of the World ?
– That is an entirely different thing. That does not connect the case with the Industrial Workers ofthe World.
– Will you connect the Industrial Workers of the World with that specific case, and give us’ the name of the case?
– Will you connect that case with the Industrial Workers of the World, and give us specific names, so that we can identify the case and check your statements?
– Are you prepared to say that the case you cited did not occur before 1904?
– The case you referred to occurred before the Industrial Workers of the World was formed.
– You mean shepherding.
– Honorable senators, by the remarks they have made, would give the impression that they consider that the Industrial Workers of the World is a very old association. I want to say that as an association it dates back only to the year 1905. It arose out of a combination of two large federations of labour in the eastern and western States of America. After this combination was achieved, it was felt that there was a class in the unions that it did not reach, and in January, 1905, the organization now known as the Industrial Workers of the World issued a manifesto that was distributed throughout the United States of America.It was signed by twenty-seven individuals, and it called upon the unattached industrialists to form themselves into a large union. They met in the’ summer of 1905, and formed the basis of the present Industrial Workers of the World organization.. It included not only the unattached unions, but several others also. Within the organization there we’re included those who believed in political action, those who believed in economic action through the political machinery, and the third group comprising those who believed only in direct action. When the balloting took place for the election of president, chairman, and executive of the organization it was found that all the officers elected were persons who disbelieved in political action, and believed only in direct action. As a result of this, the organization, which at the close of the first year numbered 100,000 members in the “United States of America, before the close of the second year had dwindled down to a mere handful of leaders. I mention the date of the establishment of the organization because I desire to show that the case referred to by Senator Gardiner was antecedent to the establishment of the Industrial Workers of the World. I wish to make it clear that I know of the case the honorable senator cited, and can show that the Industrial Workers of the World, as an organization, is of more recent origin.
– Can the honorable senator quote the constitution of the organization ?
– Does the honorable senator not think that the “ Cattle King “ of Australia has given practical effect to that objective ?
– What is wrong about that?
– Senator Senior, as a Labour man, should be in sympathy with that doctrine.
– That is another thing.
– What is the definition of the word “sabotage”?
– The honorable senator is aware that there are three distinct branches of the Industrial Workers of the World here.
– As the members of that organization do not get their names upon the electoral roll, how can they have been a factor in the referendum campaign ?
– They would sooner pay the i:ne than enroll.
– It is just an election kite.
– This Bill will accomplish nothing.
– I am convinced that this Bill is nothing more than a piece of bluff.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.80 p.m.
– -That is not an objective.
– Is not a general strike dangerous to the public safety ?
– What are they going to put in its place?
– Does the honorable senator remember that members of such an organization murdered a lot of policemen in Chicago?
– Members of the Liberal organization would be mutually responsible for the doctrines to which they subscribed, and they would stand condemned if the organization advocated murder to secure its ends.’
– A church does not incite to crime.
– Are you voting against the Bill ?
– That cuts no ice.
– If the honorable senator happened to be arrested for being drunk and disorderly, would he claim the right for a trial by jury?
– Apparently, the honorable senator has aninstinctive dislike of summary conviction.
– Hundreds of pounds’ worth of property have been destroyed and policemen shot down at their desks. Yet you say there is no need for this measure, and that it is aimed at a certain political party.
– But the offences are different. The men were sentenced for having committed certain acts, and this Bill merely aims at persons who incite to crime.
– There is no power under theConstitution to deal with these crimes.
– I would not have spoken upon this measure but for the vehement remarks made by Senator Mullan, and what I might regard as his almost immoral attitude with regard to this matter. He used a peculiar and superficial argument when he asked if a man who belonged to the Liberal party committed a murder, would the Liberal party be held responsible? Undoubtedly the Liberal party would not be responsible, but if we found that members of the Liberal party were continually committing crimes of a special character, that they foregathered at clubs or meeting-houses that were supposed to be occupied by members of a particular party, the Government- and the people of the country would have every right to assume that that party was a particularly dangerous .body, and should be legislated against. We have no grounds for suspicion that our friends of the Labour party, for instance, are per se going to do anything contrary to the principles of law and order upon which society is essentially based. We must remember ‘that this organization of the Industrial Workers of the World has its head-quarters in Chicago, and there are very few members of the Senate who are so young as not to remember the doings of the Chicago anarchists, whose propaganda was identical with the propaganda of the Industrial Workers of the World, and who shot down policemen just as an inoffensive policeman was shot down in New South Wales. I do not know what is wrong with the people. ^ A great number of Australians, it seems to me, have a temperament which is most inimical in its manifestations to the best interests and future prospects of the nation. Is there a great outburst of public feeling; is there any great- outburst of feeling on the part of politicians even; is there any large outburst of regret because of the fate of the policeman ? Undoubtedly we regret in a sub-conscious sort of way his death, but we do not find people organizing subscriptions, nor the public declaring as an organized body their regret at the death of the man. But we find in some quarters a most pernicious intention to show sympathy to those who have actually cut off an unfortunate man * in .the prime of his life, and in the execution of his official duty. We want our moral atmosphere cleared. I have sympathy with the innocent relatives of wrong-doers. The other day I read in the Sydney Bulletin a very pathetic article descriptive of this particular trial in New South Wales, and the feelings and emotions of reasoning men were played on to a very great extent. We were told of the painful position of the wives and the children of the prisoners, and no man who is a man cannot but regret that the wives and the children of such criminals have to suffer punishment. But that applies to every wrong-doer. If we allowed our feelings to carry us away, justice would never be administered. I reserve most of my sympathy, not for the wives and the children of the wrong-doers, although I have some sympathy with them if they are innocent, as they probably are; but for the wife and the children of the unfortunate policeman who was shot down by villainous murderers while he was probably performing some official duty at his desk. That is the quarter to which I extend my sympathy. Until the people of Australia clear their heads a little, and assist in clearing the moral atmosphere we shall find a great deal of misdirected sympathy which is almost as dangerous as the overt act of crime.
– Surely they are entitled to sympathy?
– No, to Ballarat.
– It was the form of trial for which Senator Mullan, was pleading just now-trial by jury.
– Do you not think that, under the War Precautions Act, the
Government . could exercise any power which is granted to them in this measure?
.- I shall not detain the Senate very long in dealing with this Bill. When speaking this morning Senator Millen claimed that unionists like myself should condemn, the action of certain men who assaulted the worker in the Small Arms Factory who was doing the best he could at the machine he controlled. It is in connexion with that statement that I have risen to speak on the Bill. So far as the measure itself- is concerned, it is not worth half-an-hour’s bother. I do not believe that it will extinguish the organization I desire to see extinguished, which has been an opponent of mine since I have known it, and which has continuously opposed the principles of craft unionism to which I subscribe. I have no sympathy with it, and I have stated that when the members of that organization get in, it is time for me to get out. I assume that I am one of the unionists who, according to Senator Millen, should condemn the action to which he referred. I have been a unionist in Sydney for forty years, and, perhaps, have witnessed more of the progress of unionism in the States than has any other honorable member of the Senate. I know the advantages which the community has derived from the efforts pf unionists, and I am willing at all times to condemn the intimidation of any man. I should like, however, to remind Senator Millen that there is under the common law a means of obtaining justice open to the man to whom he referred. I can scarcely believe that the secretary of a union assaulted this man, because I find it difficult to believe that any man would be such a coward as to permit himself to be assaulted twice without having recourse to the law to punish , those who assaulted him. I can mention a case in point. The secretary of the Typographical Society in Sydney expelled a man from a room who had been expelled from the union. This man sued the union in the Court, and got a verdict for £500. The union appealed, but the High Court upheld the decision. I say that the man who is said to have been assaulted in the Small Arms Factory has open to him the same means of redress that was open to the man who was assaulted by the secretary of the Typographical Society. There is a remedy for action of the kind to which Senator Millen referred, if those who suffer from it care to avail themselves of that remedy. T wish to bring under the notice of the Senate the fact that under clause 5 it is clear that the Bill deals only with the members of an unlawful association. If the members of such an association disband and call themselves by another name, this Bill will not affect them. It will not, for instance, deal with the. I.W.W. man who is a member of the Wharf Labourers Union or the Seamen’s Union. It deals with them only while they are members of an unlawful association. I say that it should deal with all alike who are guilty of the offences against which the measure is aimed, including those indivi duals who have the temerity to interfere with the distribution of foodstuffs of the country in time of war. I direct attention to another anomaly in clause 6 of the Bill, which provides that -
Any person, not being a natural-born British subject, born in Australia, who is convicted of an. offence, under either of the last two preceding sections, shall be liable, in addition to the punishment imposed upon him for the offence, and either during or upon the expiration of his term of imprisonment, to be deported from the Commonwealth, pursuant to any order o:i the Attorney-General.
What are the Government going to do with those, who commit these offences and who are natural-born British subjects? These men get into the unions, and are really the cause of all the trouble. I do not believe that there are more than halfadozen Americans in the Industrial Workers of the World here. The men who cause the trouble are British born and British subjects who are members of that organization. It is not the Australianborn members, or those who have lived in Australia for a number of years, that cause trouble, but chiefly British subjects who have been in the country for only a few years. Punishment under this Bill should be meted out to them in just the same way as to an American. I shall vote for the Bill, because it will do no harm and will do no good. What it is here for I am sure I do not know. Some of my honorable friends say that it has been introduced to trap the Labour party. But I believe that it is here because the great metropolitan journals of Australia have called upon the Government before they retired to do something to deal with the Industrial Workers of the World.. They have done something which is nothing.
– Perhaps I should not have risen to speak upon this Bill but for the fact that some honorable senators have said that although the Bill is of no use, they intend to vote for it. I have had some little experience in the Labour movement, and some which Senator McDougall has not had. I have had to deal with the migratory people who travel from one part of the globe to another. It is amongst these men that we find our difficulty. I am a trade unionist of many years, but I have been an active official of a trade union organization since 1884. I have been in every Inter-State strike with which that organization Has been concerned that has taken place so far in Australia. I have taken ah the responsibility attaching to the position I have occupied.
– There was a more recent case than that.
– How can we tell that?
– Senator Senior says that they were not in existence then.
– The Industrial Workers of the World were not then in existence.
– You do not associate his departure with the Industrial Workers of the World?
– Do you have any difficulty in getting them to join your union ?
– Nobody, I am sure, will utter a word of complaint against the honorable senator who has just resumed hig seat as a trade unionist. For many years he has been one Of a powerful Labour organization’s most trusted officials. ‘ But he knows perfectly well that this Bill was bound to create uneasiness in unionistic circles, for the simple reason that it is not many years ago, when those who took a foremost part in endeavouring to secure an improvement in industrial conditions were accused of crimes which they never committed - crimes of which they were, nevertheless, convicted, and for which they served terms of imprisonment. I know that there is an impression abroad that, if it was possible to secure convictions of this character twenty-five years ago, it ought to be , equally possible to. obtain them under the law as it exists today. But I have been informed, as the result of inquiry, that there is no legislation which would enable a man who “ advocates or encourages, or incites or instigates to, the taking or endangering of human life, or the destruction or injury of property.” to be punished. I well remember - as you, sir, will - the year 1891, when there was a big industrial strike throughout the pastoral districts of Australia. On that occasion quite a number of members of the Shearers Union were arrested and charged with various crimes. Some of them were convicted,, and served terms of imprisonment. Amongst them were some of the most honorable men one could find. They were trusted throughout the entire country. As an evidence of this, I may mention that, at the time of which I speak, the union funds were exhausted, and the men were unable to purchase the necessaries of life. But, despite these facts, those who had the means of providing for their needs unhesitatingly did so. The storekeepers gave them credit to the extent of thousands of pounds by supplying them with provisions and stock; and I am proud” to say that, after the lapse of twelve or eighteen months, there was not a pennypiece owing to any of these storekeepers. This, sir, conclusively proves that they were honorable men. Their leaders were out to alter the conditions which existed, but they were not out to destroy property, although it was frequently stated that they were. I well remember information being transmitted to Brisbane to the effect that some of the shearers were shooting indiscriminately at buildings in which there were a number of people whose lives were thus endangered. This accusation, like a good many others, subsequently proved to be unfounded. News was also received that the unionists had poisoned a tank of water. The city man doubtless associated that piece of intelligence with the poisoning of a tank of water containing perhaps 1,000 gallons, but those who know the back-blocks knew that it referred to an underground tank, which would hold thousands upon thousands of gallons. When this startling bit of news came to hand, a number of us waited upon the Central Office and asked that the police should substantiate the charge by forwarding a sample df the water for analysis. That water, upon being analyzed, was found to contain enough strychnine to prove fatal to any person who drank only a wineglassful of it. But further inquiries revealed that the charge was a put-up job, because it would have taken no less than 10 tons of strychnine to have impregnated the water in the tank to the extent that the water in the bottle had been impregnated. Consequently, the accusation had been made merely for the purpose of- influencing public, opinion. What induced me to believe that there was power under the common law to deal with offences such as are mentioned in this Bill was the recent trial and conviction of certain members of the Industrie! Workers of the World in Western Australia. The charge against these men was “ That they had conspired with certain persons in Broken Hill and Sydney to carry into execution an enterprise for raising discontent and disaffection, and promoting ill-will and enmity between different classes of subjects of the King.” That is a charge which could be entered anywhere. These men were convicted, and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.
– The Government paid the honorable senator a lot more attention than they ever paid me.
– But not to a jury.
– Only in the case of indictable offences. The honorable senator would not expect a man who had murdered somebody to be tried by a Court of summary jurisdiction.
– Then Mr. Theodore is not against the methods of the ‘Industrial Workers of the World because they are wrong, but because they are inexpedient in Australia?
– Have the unions taken his advice by keeping these people out? “ .
– Then you do not berlieve in what you are putting before the Senate, and what Mr. Theodore told you to do ?
– In reply to the remarks made by Senator Shannon, I want to point out that it is not so easy, in these days of trade unionism, to take exception to the political views of any particular member, and, for that reason, there is a great deal of difficulty in keeping men who subscribe to Industrial Workers of the World views out of our organizations. But certain precautions may be taken to keep the Labour movement clean, and, so far as possible, that is done. While we may admit some of these men as members, there is no reason why they should be allowed .to take a prominent part in the management of a union or exert any influence upon its policy. To-day I instanced the case of a well-known I.W.W. man, who may be heard at a Yarra bank meeting almost any Sunday. Hitherto I regarded his sentiments as so much twaddle, and until recently I never dreamed there was any force behind them. I stated, by interjection while one honorable senator was speaking, that that particular member of the Industrial Workers of the World had been prominent in endeavouring to drive “the Prime Minister out of the Waterside Workers Federation,, an organization which he had practically built up.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that men who are avowedly members of the Industrial Workers of the World, are being selected as candidates for the Federal Parliament?
– Was he advocating sabotage ?
– What do you say it means ?
– I want to . know if you are prepared to believe that the Labour organization you refer to would knowingly select as a candidate a man who was an avowed destructionist, and practised sabotage ?
– You know very well that, if a selected Labour candidate is . openly and avowedly a destructionist, he would be bound to lose his nomination.
– I do know that no selected Labour candidate is a recognised member of the Industrial. Workers of the World.
– The honorable senator is trying to connect the Labour movement with sabotage.
– That is exactly what the honorable senator is trying to do.
– I am not trying to wriggle at all, but I want you to declare yourself, and you are- not prepared to do that.
– You know. You are trying to connect the Labour movement with the Industrial Workers of the World principles.
– They .have, been blackguarding the Labour members in the Queensland Parliament for the last six or seven years.
Tom Barker, of the Industrial Workers of the ‘ World, Sydney, has nine months’ hard hanging over his head. If Barker goes up, then we will sabotage the master class all over Australia. All the Labour politicians are capitalists, consequently we will not hesitate -to sabotage the Labour politicians. If you wish to save your farm at Three Springs, see that Tom Barker is released at once. Be sure and show this note to all the other members of the Labour party. Remember your class, the capitalist class, have everything to lose; we workers have only our change. Don’t forget. Release Tom Barker, or - sabotage.
I must confess that when I read that letter I could only smile. I did not dream that there was anything but bluff behind it. In order to understand a little about what sabotage really is, or to get instruction from the apostles of that creed, I looked up a work written by a sympathetic supporter of, and believer in, the policy, a Frenchman named Emile Pouget.
– You tried to create it at the outset of your speech.
– Do you mean that the man whom you are going to quote is sympathetic to the Labour policy?
– I maybe wrong, but I understood you to say that the writer of the book was sympathetic to the views of the Labour party.
– If a man does that he deserves hanging.
– Not only that, but a favorable breeze would sweep the whole country side.
– The only fault is that it is not drastic enough.
– I had no intention of speaking to this measure, because I understood that it was the unanimous desire to conclude the business as soon as possible, but from the fact that Senator de Largie, the Government Whip, has taken some time to speak on the question - and he was quite within his rights - I take it that the Government are not in a great hurry.
– I did not say that he is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. I said that he has advocated I.W.W. principles.
– That is quite true.
– I did not say that.
– What I said is perfectly true, all the same.
– I am not going to allow you to put words into my mouth. What I said is true.
– Might not that happen without an organization knowing it?
– Quite true.
– How do you know that?
– I will not run away from what I have said.
– Some of them have got into leading positions in the unions.
– It is worth, noting that while the honorable senator has quoted the article as misrepresenting Mr. Tudor, if he turns to the next column of the same newspaper he will find an even bigger lie told in the interests of Mr. Tudor.
– I shall mention the matter on the adjournment.
– If the Bill applied to any genuine trade union, I should not be found supporting it.
– I shall not take up much time in replying to the debate. I wish to say that I appreciate the way in which the Bill has been received by the Senate. We have been told by some honorable senators that the measure overshoots the mark, and by others that it falls far short of the mark. It would ap- pear, therefore, that it must about hit the bull’s-eye. Senator McDougall supports the Bill because he thinks it can do neither good nor harm; whilst Senator O’Keefe has just said that he supports it because it will root out the disease.
– Nothing of the kind.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 -
This Act shall continue in force for the duration of the present war, and a period of six months thereafter, but no longer.
– Seeing that this measure is intended to suppress crime, I should like to know why it is to be limited to the period of the war, and six months thereafter?
.- This Bill has its origin in the defence powers of the Commonwealth, and, as the honorable senator will observe, it is mainly intended to deal with offences which are likely to be committed during the currency of the war. We believe that on the termination of the war the necessity for such a Bill will largely disappear.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 3 and 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 -
Whoever, being a member of an unlawful association, advocates or encourages, or incites or instigates to, any action intended or calculated to prevent or hinder the production, manufacture, or transport, for purposes connected with the war, of troops, arms, munitions, or warlike- material, including foodstuffs, shall be guilty of an offence…….
– I wish to know whether the inciting to, or encouragement of, the acts set out in this clause will be limited strictly to members of an unlawful association.
– The clause in its literal sense applies only to members of unlawful associations. The presumption is that only such persons will be guilty of these crimes, and if there are men guilty of them who do not belong to such associations, they can be dealt with under the ordinary law.
– The very fact that a person who is a member of an unlawful association is directly indicated as being liable to six months’ imprisonment if guilty of any of these acts conveys the idea that any person’ who is not a member of an association is not liable to imprisonment if he does any of those acts, and cannot be prosecuted under the scope of this Bill.
– The Bill is quite comprehensive enough in its scope, and will pretty well meet the case as I see it. At the same time, if honorable senators opposite feel that it is not sufficiently comprehensive, and that individual criminals may escape, I am prepared to help them to draw the net evencloser.
– The. point raised by Senator Mullan is very strong, sound, and valid. Clause 4, which we have just passed, reads -
Whoever advocates or encourages, or incites or instigates to the taking or endangering of human life, or the destruction or injuring of property shall be guilty of an offence.
We might well bring clause 5 into conformity with clause 4 by striking out the words, “ being a member of an unlawful association.” It would then read -
Whoever advocates or encourages, or incites or instigates to any action intended or calculated to prevent or hinder the production, manufacture, or transport for purposes con nected with the war, of troops, arms, munitions, or warlike material, including foodstuffs, shall be guilty of an offence.
If Senator Mullan moves that amendment I will support him.
– Many a man may say a thing in a moment of excitement for which he ought not to be put in gaol. This clause deals with an association deliberately organized for a purpose.
Senator- KEATING. - If the two clauses are compared it will be found that I am right. There are men in this community who have done the things indicated in clause 5, and belong to no organization. They should come under this Bill just the same as if they were members of an organization banded together for the purpose of doing damage to the Empire.
– You are going the right way to do it the next time.
– Under clause 4 you cannot tell a man to go and kill a German.
– How would recruiting go under that clause ?
– You would then bring in a member of any association, unlawful or not, who dared to do any of the things mentioned in clause 5 ?
Senator- KEATING.- Any individual in the community who is guilty of any of the offences in clause 5 should be punished, whether he belongs to the Industrial Workers of the World or not.
– But there is a liability to prosecute in any case ?
– Failing this Bill, does the honorable senator contend that nobody who commits an offence would escape punishment?
– And the honorable senator contends that, to make this Bill operative, certain words ought to be eliminated.
.- I follow Senator Mullan in desiring to get an expression of opinion from the Government with regard to this clause, because if we pass it as it stands, it may be argued, after Parliament is closed, that the Government, by a regulation, may bring in all those organizations and unions which are now left out of the Bill The Government might then be able to say that it was the intention of Parliament, under this clause, to include them. Senator Mullan and I want to know if this is in the minds of the Government, and whether they propose to make this clause, by regulation, do what perhaps they lack the courage to ask Parliament to sanction. I am en couraged in this view by an offer made by Senator do Largie - the “ off-sider “ to the Government - who invited me to move an amendment. If he can guarantee that the Government will accept the amendment, I will be prepared to draft it, but I do not propose to harass the Government by drafting amendments which may be unacceptable to them. I am glad Senator Keating has moved his amendment, because, when the vote is taken on it, we shall be ableto indicate to the Government that we do not want any regulations of that kind framed during the time that Parliament is not sitting.
– I wish to point out to Senator Gardiner that while there is certainly power under the War Precautions Act to issue regulations, any regulations framed under this Bill will be of the same kind and nature as regulations issued ordinarily under any other Bill that passes this Chamber. I would, therefore, suggest that the honorable senator might very fittingly leave well alone. This is a measure to deal with unlawful associations, and members thereof. That is the objective, and I think the amendment moved by Senator Keating will seriously affect its purpose. The presumption is that all the offences intended to be dealt with by the Bill are hatched and conceived in a particular way, and, having discovered their source, we propose to reach them in this Bill, so that there will be little need to deal with persons outside of an organization. I appeal to honorable senators that the Bill clearly accomplishes the work it set out to do, and I hope the amendment will not be carried, because we do not know where it will land us. In clause 5 we reach the objective of- the Bill, namely, the members of unlawful associations.
– It appears to me that if the amendment moved by Senator Keating is agreed to, it will unduly widen the scope of the Bill, and make it a very comprehensive measure, for it will then not only deal with unlawful associations, but will give to the Government power which I, for one, am not prepared to give them in any circumstances whatever. The Government will then have unlimited power to make regulations.
– “ And certain of’. Do not forget that.
– On a point of order, I direct attention to the fact that we are discussing clause 5, in which Senator Keating has moved an amendment, deleting certain words.’ I want to know whether that amendment is in order, because, if accepted by the Committee, it will destroy the whole purview of the Bill..
The intention of the Bill is, as the Minister said, to deal with unlawful associations.
– I contend that if the amendment is held to be in order, the Committee will be assuming to itself the power to debate a question which really is not submitted in the measure.
– I only asked for a ruling on the point.
– May I, sir, reply now to Senator Keating, who is a very eminent and able lawyer? He has said that, because the words “certain offences” are mentioned in the preamble, the Committee will be justified in discussing his amendment. I contend that those words are used in relation to “ unlawful associations and members thereof.”
– I am not bothering about clause 4. Because the .words “certain offences” appear in the preamble, the honorable senator thinks that the Bill should give a latitude to the Government to prosecute all and sundry, whereas the purview of the Bill is “ unlawful associations and members thereof and certain offences.” I contend that the “certain offences “ are in connexion with members of an unlawful association under the measure.
– Clause 4 deals only with those persons who incite or instigate to the taking or endangering of human life or the destruction or injury of property; whereas clause 5 is of an entirely different character, and is confined exclusively to a member of an unlawful association, and to that only. The mere fact that a punishment is provided in clause 4 for individuals who endanger human life or instigate the destruction of property does not imply that the power given under clause 5 can, with impunity, be exercised in that way. I think that if the amendment is held to be in order, and is carried, the whole Bill will be reviewed at once, and will receive no support from this side of the Chamber.
– That is the practice of the “divers crimes and offences” referred to in the first paragraph of the preamble. You cannot read one paragraph without the other.
– That is, the practices of the members of the Industrial Workers of the World. It is quite clear that you cannot read into the second paragraph anything which is not there.
– At the first blush, I was inclined to think ‘ that Senator Needham was wrong; but, on consideration, I think that the point he took is right. This measure, from beginning to end, is “ a Bill relating to unlawful associations and members thereof, and certain offences.” The question is: What is the meaning of the words “ certain offences “ in the title, and what relation do those words bear to the preceding words “relating to unlawful associations and members thereof “ ? The more I read the Bill, the more do I feel inclined to believe that the words “ certain offences “ are intended to be certain offences committed by . unlawful associations and members thereof. Senator Millen has submitted that, if that is so, we did wrong in passing clause 4 as it stood. I think that we did. I believe that, in order to make the Bill sensible, it will be incumbent upon the Government to recommit clause 4, for the purpose of inserting after the word “ Whoever “ the words “‘being a member of an unlawful association,” that is, the same words as follow the word “ Whoever “ in clause 5. As the measure stands now, it is very lop-sided. I cannot get away from the impression that the Bill is intended to apply to unlawful associations and the members thereof, and that the offences referred to are those committed by unlawful associations and the members thereof. I hope that you will rule that Senator Needham’s point of order must be upheld.
– The honorable senator had only to read the first clause, which is the short title of the Bill.
– The title is nothing.
– Senator Needham, in seeking to have Senator Keating’s amendment set aside as out of order, raises the question of the scope and purpose of the Bill. The subject-matter of the Bill is very clearly set out in the title. It is -
A Bill for an Act relating to unlawful associations and members thereof and certain offences.
I have said a few times that the main object of the Bill is to deal with unlawful associations and the acts of the members of such associations. But if . we were to circumscribe the scope of the Bill to that main object alone, much of the measure would have to go by the board. For instance, clause 4 would have to go, and clauses 6 and 7 would also have to go.
– The complete measure would be emasculated if it were agreed that its scope was confined within the narrow lines suggested by Senator Needham.
SenatorGardiner. - If the Bill applies to lawful associations the whole measure will have to go.
– If the amendment is pressed I propose to vote against it. I want to say that it is an entirely logical amendment, and I can find no fault with it on that ground. It seems to me that it is an unanswerable argument that if it is a wrong thing for John Smith, who happens to be a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, or some other unlawful association, in time of war, to incite men to delay the loading of a transport, for instance, it cannot be a right thing- for William Brown, who does not happen to be a member of the Industrial Workers of the World,’ but is a member of some other organization, to do the same thing. . If we have to take a vote upon the amendment, and it is carried, any union deciding to strike, for instance, would, I presume, have a meeting of its members, at which a motion to strike would probably be made, and then the man who moved the motion would be liable under this Bill. I am not saying that some steps will not yet have to be taken to prevent strikes which affect our warlike operations. But we cannot deal with such a matter as that piecemeal, or in this Bill. We have legislation in some of the States, and I think also in the Commonwealth, which makes a strike illegal, but it has so far been honoured more in . the breach than in the observance, and nothing very dreadful has happened. To-day we have to recognise the fact that no matter what law may appear upon our statute-books, the strike is the accepted practice of the. unions. I do not propose that we should deal with this very big matter in this piecemeal fashion. The whole standing, privileges, and rights of unions must be passed in review before we can accept a proposition to deny that which the community tolerates as a practice, and which the law has so far tolerated. In the circumstances, although I agree with its logic, I am unable to support the amendment submitted by Senator Keating,
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 6 to 8, preamble, and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended, and Bill read a first time.
– So far as the principle of the Bill is concerned, it is not necessary to say anything about it. We should just put it through. But I desire to ask a question which was put by Senator Ready a moment or two ago. I observe that the measure is limited to the duration of the war and six months thereafter. If it is to be so limited I submit that, on the termination of the war, we shall lose the benefit of what should prove a very useful measure.
– This is one of those measures to which I attach very little importance. I happened to be in the Old Country recently when a similar Bill was brought into operation, and scarcely any one knew anything about it. I quite recognise that it is possible to save money by dispensing with artificial light for a certain period of the year. I am glad that the Commonwealth has taken action to make this, practice uniform throughout Australia. When I was serving my. time, and for some years afterwards, I used to start work at 6 o’clock in the morning during seven months of the year, and at 7 o’clock in the morning during five months of the year. But the wiseacres in the persona of our employers came along and said, “ You must all start work at the one time, namely, 8 o’clock.” As, a result we lost an hour’s daylight.. We had a strike in opposition to the employers’ orders - a strike which lasted ten weeks - and we were defeated.- But I am pleased to know that we are now going to revert to the ideal of the trade unionists of thirty years ago. When in England I heard the story of an old lady who would not put her old clock back because it had “ told the truth for 100 years, and she could not bear it to tell a lie”; but she had put her little clock back, as it was made in Germany, and was used to lying.
– I congratulate the Government on bringing forward the Bill, even at this late hour of the session. We have had a little experience in Tasmania of daylight saving, and saving on our light bills. There was considerable opposition to the reform in Tasmania when the Bill was first introduced, but that has almost entirely disappeared. To Captain Giblin, ex-member of the House of Assembly, now at the front with the 40th Battalion, is due the credit for getting the Bill through, after a long and strenuous fight. It seems a small thing to put the clock forward an hour, but the alteration has been appreciated very highly in Tasmania, as I have been told by a number of workers there in the last month or two. When they knock off at 5 o’clock they have nearly five hours of daylight for recreation or amusement. That alone, without the other savings stated, would justify the putting forward of the clock in the beautiful summer climate of the Commonwealth. Another health advantage which has not been touched on is that it gets one to bed an hour earlier every night. We go to bed at 11 o’clock, as usual, although it is really 10 o’clock, so that the Bill is . really, a legislative inculcation of the old adage, “ Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Doctors speak very highly of the Bill for health reasons.
We, in Tasmania, have led Australia in this reform, and, in consequence, have been under a great difficulty because our time has been an hour different from mainland time. All the boats sailing to and from Tasmania nave kept mainland time, but the time of departure has had Eb be advertised in the press in Tasmanian time.- Other complications arose, particularly in the sending of telegrams and cables. The closing of the post-offices had to be extended in Tasmania by one hour to keep the time uniform, and’ I believe this caused a little friction as far as telegraphic arrangements were concerned, which had to be adjusted. All these disadvantages will disappear with a uniform Act. I hope the Government will look into the constitutional question raised by Senator Millen, so that, instead of being only a temporary war measure, this reform may be permanently grafted upon the national life of the people of Australia.
– Senator Millen seems to be under the impression that this measure has been introduced in consequence or on account of the war, and for its duration only. If that is the case, the validity of the legislation can be seriously challenged, because no such ground or’ justification is shown in the measure for submitting it and passing it into law. Any authority that we have for passing legislation of this character is given under section 51 of the Constitution, in the paragraph dealing with astronomical and meteorological matters. 1 have very grave and serious doubt whether the measure is within the competence of the Federal Legislature. Had it been desired to pass a measure of this kind, and make time uniform throughout Australia, even adopting the zone system that applies under present conditions that might have been done by regulation under the War Precautions Act; but whether we have the competence to decide by legislation what shall or shall not be standard time for any particular portion of the Commonwealth is very much open to question.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
Clauses 2 to 6 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment ; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
Motion (by Senator Russell) proposed -
That this Bill be now read a first time.
– The increase in taxation averages about 25 per cent, over that of last year, and, roughly speaking, will give us about £1,000,000 more.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
The Senate is in a position similar to that which arose in connexion with the Entertainments Tax Bill, which was received here without the accompanying Assess ment Bill. Honorable senators expressed the desire to have the Assessment Bill first, but as that measure is not yet available, we have been compelled, owing to the short time at our disposal, to go on with the taxation measure first. If honorable senators desire to postpone this measure until the other Bill is before the Senate, there will be no objection. Very little requires to be said for the Bill, which simply provides for an all-round increase of about 25 per cent, upon the taxation of last year. It is scarcely necessary for’ me to say that the money must be obtained to meet our interest obligations, and provide for our other undertakings. I might add, however, that there has been a uniform alteration in regard to the exemptions. Most honorable senators will remember that there was a higher exemption in the case of incomes from personal exertion in last year’s Act as compared with the exemptions on income from property, but this year the exemption in both will disappear at £500 on a graduated scale. Companies’ incomes will have to provide for the usual increase, which will bring their tax up to 1s. 101/2d. in the £1. It is estimated that the increase provided for will bring in an additional revenue of about £1,000,000.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without request.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended, and Bill read a first time.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Though this is rather a lengthy Bill, it contains few or no principles. It simply provides machinery whereby the grand principle embodied in the taxing Act may be carried out. The main principle of the measure is to prevent persons from dodging the tax. It prescribes what societies and entertainments shall be taxed, and defines an entertainment to include “ any exhibition, performance, lecture, amusement, game or sport for admission to which payment is made.” The exemptions are set out in clause 12, as follows : -
Entertainments tax shall not he charged on payments for admission to any entertainment where the Commissioner is satisfied -
that the whole of the takings thereof are devoted to philanthropic, religious, or charitable purposes without any charge on the takings for any expenses of the entertainment; or
that the entertainment is of a wholly educational character (any question on that ‘ point to be determined, in case of difference, by the Commissioner) ; or
that the entertainment is intended only for the amusement of children, and that the charge is not more than 1d. for each person; or
that the entertainment is provided for partly educational or partly scientific purposes by a society, institution, or committee not conducted or established for profit.
The last exemption will include agricultural societies - that is, where no payment is made to members of the committee; but the ordinary agricultural society as conducted in Australia will be exempt from taxation under this measure. Of course, the charities, children’s bazaars, and so on are also exempted. There is another clause of some little importance, and that is clause 13, which provides for a refund of the tax in certain cases. It says -
Where the Commissioner is satisfied that the whole of the net proceeds of an entertainment are devoted to philanthropic, religious, or charitable purposes, and that the whole of the expenses of the entertainment do not exceed 50 per centum of the receipts, he shall repay to the proprietor the amount of the entertainments tax paid in respect of the entertainment.
A refund of the amount of the tax will be granted where the entertainment is held purely for philanthropic purposes. A refund is provided in another case.
Provided that when the Commissioner is satisfied that, owing to adverse climatic con. ditions the expenses of an entertainment for philanthropic, religious, or. charitable purposes in respect of which payments for admission have been made exceed 50 per centum of the receipts, the Commissioner shall repay to the proprietor the amount of the entertainments tax paid in respect of the entertainment.
Where a fete or a gathering has Deen organized, and owing to adverse weather conditions certain expense has been undertaken by the parties interested, as they are acting purely from a philanthropic motive, that is for the purpose of raising money for an institution, a refund to that amount will be granted. Most of the other provisions are merely machinery provisions for an effective check upon the revenue.
– Taking advantage of the brief interval which occurred just now, I asked the Minister a question as to what entertainments were exempted by the provisions he has read ; and I assume from the statement he made just now, that paragraph 6 of clause 12 was intended to supply the information I was seeking. I want to ask the Minister to be very clear on this point, because I think it would be defeating the purpose of Parliament if we attempted to levy the tax on agricultural shows. Although the Minister says tnat they are exempt, as I think they ought to be, he put a qualification on that exemption; but, apart from the qualification, I am not quite clear, although I accept, his statement as to the intention, that the Bill does exempt these institutions. Clause 12 provides, amongst other things, that the tax shall no’t be charged on payments for admission to any entertainment where the Commissioner is satisfied
I see many difficulties there in regard to these institutions. The question is whether one would say that an agricultural or horticultural show is partly scientific or partly educational. The Commissioner might take a different view of the matter. When it comes to a question of being conducted for a profit, many of these shows make a profit at one gathering. They do not exist for profit-making, and, on the whole, whatever profits they make go to the improvement of their large grounds. Nevertheless, they make a profit, and it was out of the profits that the Royal Agricultural Society at Sydney built up their magnificent grounds and improvements. I notice that in paragraph 3 of section 10 the South Australian Act of 1916 exempts these shows. It reads as. follows: -
Amusements duty shall not be charged on payments for admission to any agricultural, horticultural, floricultural, poultry, dog, or other like show.
That -provision is clear and explicit. I ask the Minister to consider before we come to the Committee stage whether it would not be better to incorporate words of that kind, or, at any rate, to amplify the wording of the clause as it stands.
.- Senator Millen has nut forth a plea for agricultural societies. If the Government are to be moved by that plea, I would point out to them that once they open the door to exemptions they cannot stop there. From time to time in Victoria there is held an exhibition of a highlyimportant character for the . purpose of helping onward Australian industries. It is held under the auspices of the Australian Natives Association in the Exhibition Building here, and is very educa tional. If the Government once open the door in regard to exemptions, it will be very difficult to say where to stop. The exhibition I referred to is not run for a profit, but a charge for admission is made. There have been two or three exhibitions held under the auspices of the Australian Natives Association. The exhibitions have had a highly educational interest to visitors, and a very big effect in encouraging Australian manufactures in different parts of the Commonwealth. They have helped to create a patriotic sentiment in Australia that was not so strongly manifested before the Australian Natives Association took the matter in hand.
– Paragraph d of clause 12 exempts the kind of exhibition to which you refer and I want agricultural shows put on the same ground.
– Do the profits, if there have been any profits from such exhibitions, go to the funds of the Australian Natives Association?
– They are exempt under clause 12, and I want to put agricultural shows on the same list.
– In the various States demonstrations in connexion with which sports are held are arranged every year by trade societies in celebration of the Eight Hours Day. The proceeds in some cases are used entirely for the purpose of completing partially erected trades halls. I am not sure that such demonstrations and sports would be covered by paragraph d of clause 12.
– Should not all these points be considered in Committee?
– I am glad that Senator Findley raised’ the question he did in connexion with paragraph d of clause 12, under which the Assistant Minister has said that shows conducted by agricultural societies will be exempt from this taxation. Though that is not quite clear to me, I accept the assurance of the Minister. I hope we shall have a similar assurance in respect of the Australian Natives’ Association Exhibition, to which Senator Findley has referred, and ‘which is held on the 26th January in this State. I am doubtful whether that exhibition, which is largely scientific and educational, will be covered by paragraph d of clause 12. I hope that before the Bill goes into Committee the Assistant Minister will be able to five us some assurance on the point. Last year the exhibition was run at apretty severe financial loss,but this year it is hoped there will be a profit.
– We have not had much time to look into this Bill, and I therefore require a little information. I should like to know whether it is the intention of the Government to tax complimentary tickets and cards of invitation for entertainments for admission to persons who do not hold such tickets or cards are obliged to pay. If it is not the intention of the Government to tax such tickets and cards it should be. I should like to know also whether totalizator tickets, and tickets for Tattersall’s sweeps, from which a considerable revenue is derived, are to be liable to this taxation, or whether those who derive large profits from this source of revenue are to be allowed to go scot-free !
– Questions in dispute as to liability to taxation under clause 12 are to be determined by the Commissioner, from whose decision there is no appeal. I have the authority of the Acting Commissioner to say that, in his opinion, clause 12 does cover agricultural shows, and we may, therefore, accept that as final. They are partly educational and partly scientific. The Australian Natives Association Exhibition referred to by Senators Findley and Blakey would certainly come under the same determination, as it is not held for the purpose of making a profit. The whole matter depends on the question whether the fete, carnival, race-meeting, cricket or football match, or sports meeting is run for profit. Tickets for admission to a professional football match would undoubtedly be taxed, but if there were a guarantee that a particular match was an amateur game, it would be a question for the Commissioner to decide whether it would not be exempt.
– The Minister is speaking only of Victoria.
– What if it is held for the benefit of a trades hall fund?
Clauses 1 to 11 agreed to.
Clause 12 -
Entertainments tax shall not be charged on payments for admission to any entertainment where the Commissioner is satisfied -
– I want a little information from the Minister in charge of the Bill. In South Australia a concert is held annually by the children of the State schools, in which as many as a thousand children take part. There is a charge for admission, ‘but the whole of the money is devoted to the decoration of the schools throughout the State. This cannot definitely be said to be a charity, nor can it any more definitely be said to be an entertainment run for profit, whilst it is certainly in the interests of education.
-I would like to be clear as to the position that will be occupied by the annual demonstration of the Eight Hours Union. The Assistant Minister has stated that in Victoria the demonstration is conducted purely on charitable lines. But Victoria is the only State in the Commonwealth which has enacted legislation in that direction. In the other States, the annual demonstration is conducted in the capitals and towns in which there is an Eight Hours Union of the various trades and occupations. If any profit results from the demonstration, it is devoted, not to the organizations, but to the erection of a hall, in- which they may meet. I do not know under what heading such entertainments will come.
– I understand that an institution holding a benefit carnival, such as the Trades Hall, will not be exempt from the operation of the Bill, unless the Commissioner determines that the carnival is of a charitable, educational, or scientific character. Where an eight hours demonstration is run for charitable purposes, the proceeds will be exempt from taxation, but where it is run for the benefit of a building fund it will be taxed.
– I should like to know whether the tickets of admission to social and other forms of entertainment which are held by committees of the Liberal party to assist in defraying the cost of their election campaigns will be exempt from taxation?
– I would point out to the honorable senator that it is not so much a question of the nature of the function as it is of its object and purpose. If the Women’s National League hold a garden party, for example, and the profits are used for political purposes, they will certainly be taxed.
.- It seems to me that there ought to be some provision in the- Bill to exempt from taxation all Eight Hours Demonstrations. I have had some experience of the little demonstration that is held in Tasmania. The profits from it are really nil, and the demonstration is practically financed by voluntary contributions. I know that these contributions amount to £50 or £60, and that the whole takings do not exceed £120. It would be cruel to tax a demonstration of that sort, which is not run for the purposes of private profit. If a profit should accrue from the exhibition, it is devoted to providing, a hall for the various trade organizations. But that profit is represented entirely by voluntary contributions.
.- I think that any profits derived by trade organizations in Australia from their annual fetes in connexion with the eight hours-* principle should be exempted from taxation for the same reason that the profits derived from an exhibition under the auspices of the Australian Natives Association are to be exempt. In Victoria, for many, years, Labour has celebrated the Eight Hours Day in a way worthy of the occasion. There is, in connexion with that demonstration, an art union, and thousands of tickets are sold which enable their purchasers to witness the sports that are held in the arena and the pother amusements which are provided - in the main building. After the demonstration a balance-sheet is presented, and a certain amount is devoted to State charities. A statement was recently published in the press to the effect that the Peacock Government do not intend to approve of the holding of any future art unions in connexion with the Eight Hours Demonstration; but whether they will live long enough to do anything further in the direction suggested, I do not know. At the present time, they are between the devil and the briny. Their fate hangs in the balance. Some say that their days are numbered, and I hope that they are.
But if the Eight Hours’ Union is not permitted to hold an art union in connexion with future demonstrations, a certain sum of money will have to be provided for the expenditure which must necessarily be incurred, and any profits resulting therefrom will, according to the statement of the Assistant Minister, be taxed.
– On the gross takings.
– Irrespective of whether a profit or loss is made ?
– Is not the Eight Hours Demonstration in the streets an educational one?
– Then it will be exempt.
– Under the clause to which the honorable senator has referred several times.
– It depends upon the purposes to which the profits are to be devoted.
– If they are to be devoted to charitable purposes, it is one thing; but if they are to be devoted to purposes of private profit, it is another.
– Several cases have been cited where hardships might inure if the provisions of the Bill were made applicable to the receipts in connexion with particular forms of entertainment. An important institution exists in this Commonwealth which does not exist anywhere else, in the world - the annual Inter-State eight-oar race - which has been intermitted since the war began. I do not expect the Minister to be in a position to say whether any particular institution will or will not come within the purview of the Bill in the opinion of the Commissioner, but I take it that the Commissioner, in exercising his discretion under clause 12, will to a certain extent be guided by the general feeling of Parliament when the Bill was going through.
– It ‘has been distinctly stated that the agricultural societies throughout the States will be exempt from this taxation. There are agricultural shows held annually, not only in the capitals, but in almost every town along the coast and inland. They do not make a great deal of money, but they have a certain amount of ground, and on its improvement expend whatever profit is made. In addition to Brisbane, shows are held at Ipswich, Toowoomba, Maryborough, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Mackay, and other places by agricultural and industrial societies, but in all those places there’ is also another annual demonstration which brings the people into the centres. That is the demonstration bv the Labour orrganizations, which has exactly the same effect, and to a great extent a similar influence. No person or individual organization makes a profit out of these - gatherings. In most places the , State has granted a piece of land on which the organizations are to erect a building. Their principal means of raising funds is their annual demonstration, and the profits are ‘ always used to improve the land and erect buildings for the benefit of the organized labour in the district, just as the annual agricultural and industrial shows are held for the benefit of the people engaged in agriculture and industry. An honorable senator from South Australia has called my attention to the fact that a wealthy man in Adelaide paid off the debt on the Trades Hall in Adelaide, but in most other cases in Australia numbers of people by attending these demonstrations provide a certain amount of money which is used to pay for or improve the hall.
– In paragraph c of the clause there appears the following: -
That the entertainment is intended only for the amusement of children, and that the charge is not more than Id. for each person; or
It would appear that the Bill was drawn up at a, time when 6d. and even 3d. tickets were included, but tickets up to 6d. have been exempted, and I want to know now if entertainments given by private showmen to school children will be included. It seems to me necessary to alter this paragraph in order to make the Bill conform, with the other measure which we have passed.
– The words complained of by the honorable senator are useless, but they can do no harm, and I would ask the honorable senator not to press the matter.
– I would suggest that Senator Senior press the question he has raised. The Minister says it does not mattervery much, and, that’ being so, I do not see why another place should not accept the amendment at once. It would indicate, at all events, that we are edeavouring to harmonize our legislation, and if we are here simply to wait on another place, and are expected to say “ ditto,” we might just as well go home.
SenatorSENIOR (South Australia) [9.38]. - I will adopt the suggestion of Senator Keating, and move -
That in paragraph c the words “ One penny “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ sixpence.”
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 13 to 21 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment: report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Bill read a third time.
– I understand that we shall have to wait for some time for clean copies of the Income Tax Assessment Bill. There are only about halfadozen available.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This is really the complement to the -Bill which was recently passed fixing the rate of income tax for the present year. The object of the measure is to effect certain amendments in the principal Act, which have been found, as the result of practical experience gained by the officers, to be necessary for the successful working of the Act, and to remove those little frictions which from time to time arise in the working of. a large Act of this character. The Bill makes one or two amendments in the principal Act. Where, for instance, a man is allowed a deduction for a dependant the rate Has been increased from £13 to £26. Likewise where a man is allowed to make a deduction for each of his children the amount has been increased from. £13 to £16. It’ has been found necessary to amplify the provisions of the principal Act with regard to official secrecy, so as to enable a free interchange and exchange of information between Commonwealth and State officers. This amplification will lighten the work a good deal, and will be the initial step in leading to what we trust will be the harmonizing and cheapening of these services, as well as making more effective provision in that regard.
– That is a reciprocal provision 1
– Insurance ‘companies are to be included in the provision.
Under the proposed scheme it is estimated that the taxation will disappear at £500 in regard, to income from personal exertion, and also income derived from property.
– What clause deals with that?
– What will be the difference in the taxation, taking three or four instances of incomes ranging from £500 to £1,000?
Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 -
Section 11 of the principal Act is amended -
by omitting from paragraph (e) the words “the War Loan Act (No. 1) 1915,” and inserting in their stead the words “a Commonwealth War Loan”; . . . . . ,, .
.–In this clause I notice a ‘provision amending the principal Act by omitting from paragraph e of section 11, the words “ The War Loan Act(No. 1) 1915,” and inserting in their stead the. words, “a Commonwealth War Loan.” Owing to the brief period in which the Bill has been in our hands, I am not quite clear as to the effect of that amendment. But if, as it seems to me, it is intended to incorporate in this measure a permanent exemption for all future war loans, the Committee should be informed of that, so that we shall not unwittingly commit ourselves to a declaration of policy as to future war loans. I would like the Minister to say whether this provision is merely intended to legalize the second war loan, or whether it is intended to cover future war loans.
– The Government feel that in granting the exemption under the War Loan Act, both Houses deliberately led the people of this country to believe that such exemption would be granted in respect to all war loans. We found that the moment it was intimated that there was going to be a tax on war bonds and inscribed stock the drop in their value was very marked indeed, indicating that we would have to . pay at least 41/2 per cent for war money. The Government felt that they were under an obligation, not so much to a previous Government as to the decision of Parliament to exempt war loans from taxation.
– I am sorry to hear the statement of the Minister, because it raises the whole question. I have no desire in doing so to cut across the conditions under which previous loans -may have been issued, and if this provision could be so amended as to apply only to those loans which have been floated, I would be content to rest there. If we are now asked under the guise of an Income Tax Bill, to tie our hands as to future loans, I am unable to consent to the provision. What I suggest to the Government is that they should cover all the loans issued to date, and then when a fresh loan is about to be floated, the Parliament will have another opportunity of considering and determining the conditions under which future loans shall be issued. In the short time at my disposal, I have been’ unable to ascertain exactly how this provision fits in with the principal Act, but in order to put ourselves on a proper footing, I move -
That the words “ a Commonwealth War Loan “ be- left out.
I do not quite know what the effect of their omission would be.
– It was the same lines in the Bill which arrested my attention. I recognise the difficulty with which the Government are confronted in reference to this matter. Provision has been made with regard to the first war loan, referred to here as the war loan of 1915 I take it, though I am not quite sure on the point, that the object of the provision is to make applicable to subsequent war loans the provisions that apply to the first war loan in connexion with the exemption from income tax.
– Since I spoke I have obtained a copy of the main Act, and I should like, by permission of the Committee, to withdraw my amendment, with a view to sub- mitting it in an amended form. The section of the existing Act which we are by this clause invited to amend reads -
The following incomes, revenues, and fundsshall he exempt from income tax.
And paragraph e of the section which is sought to be amended by this Bill reads -
The income derived from bonds, debentures, stock, or other securities of the Commonwealth issued under the provisions of War Loan Act No. 1 1916.
We have been asked to amend that, and my desire will be attained if the Committee will negative paragraph a of the clause now under consideration. That will leave the existing Income Tax Assessment Act as it stands in this connexion, and it does exempt war loans issued so far.
– Would not the honorable senator’s object be attained by substituting the words “ existing Commonwealth war loans “ for the words “ a Commonwealth war loan “ t
– I suggest that the substituted words should be “ Commonwealth war loans authorized before 1st January, 1917 “:
.- I wish the Committee to be quite clear as to what it is doing. The last war loan authorized was for £50,000,000, and of that amount only about £23,000,000 has been borrowed. I should like to know whether it is the desire’ of .honorable senators that the unissued balance of that £50,000,000 loan shall come under this provision or not. Personally, I am inclined to support the Government in this matter, because I know that all the money we can borrow in any way will be required for war purposes. I want to be clear whether the words, “ Commonwealth War Loans authorized before 1st January,” 1917,” will cover the balance of the last war loan that has not yet been floated.
– The Assistant Minister will correct me if I am wrong, but I take it that the eff ect of my amendment will be to apply this provision to loans so far authorized. The question is whether the Government are likely to float the balance of the last loan, authorized between this and the 1st January. I do not think, that is at all probable.
. - I think the Committee is unanimous, that, as far as money already lent to the Commonwealth is concerned,’ we have no desire to disturb the conditions on which it was raised ; but so far as money yet to be raised is concerned, we claim to have a free hand in deciding the terms upon which it shall be raised. If Senator Millen adheres to the use of the word “ Authorized “ in his amendment, the consequence may be that the balance of £27,000,000 not floated of the war loan for £50,000,000 already authorized will escape the scrutiny of this Parliament, so far. as the conditions upon which it is to be floated are concerned. If that be so, I think the intention of the Committee will not be given effect to.
– Senator Keating has put the position correctly. The fact is that about £27,000,000 of the last loan authorized by Parliament has not yet been issued, but that loan was advertised as one loan, and the announcement was made to the public that the interest upon the loan would be exempt from State and Federal income tax. I see that with respect to that loan the present Treasurer, in his interim financial statement, said -
The proposal already made includes war bonds and inscribed stock as being subject to levy. There are some members who believe that no promise or pledge was given that these bonds should be free from all taxation, and, on examination of the war loan prospectus, that contention can be maintained, as therein it is stated that “ all bonds and all transfers of inscribed stock will be free of Commonwealth and State stamp duty, and interest will be free of Commonwealth and State income tax.” Clearly they were not to be free from all taxation, but many of the public appear to have been under the . impression that the principal would not be taxed in any way, and the announcement that a levy of one-half per cent, per annum for three years on war bonds, as well as on ordinary wealth, was to be imposed has unsettled the value of these securities, and, in some instances, so I am advised, investments have gone to other countries because of this proposal. The position of the Commonwealth is a dual one. In addition to our intention to increase taxation, we are also a borrower within our territorial limits.
We have to consider to what extent certain conditions attached to the loan were advertised.
– I did not hear the Assistant Minister’s concluding remarks. I understand, however,that the acceptance of the amendment will mean that this Parliament will be afforded an opportunity of saying whether all future war loans shall be exempt from taxation.’ I do not think that Senator Millen intends that the unsubscribed balance of the loan for £50,000,000, for which applications were recently invited, shall be subject to income tax. Do the Government accept the position that Parliament shall determine whether all future loans shall pay Commonwealth and State income tax?
.- If I understand the position aright, the amendment will not in any way touch the balance of the war loan which has yet to be issued. If that be so, there is no necessity for that amendment, because whenever any future war loan is projected we shall be free and unfettered.
– The clause relates to the War Loan Act 1915, and there is a second War Loan Act.
– The amendment of Senator Millen will certainly improve the clause, but I am not enamoured of the fact that it will exempt from taxation the balance of the loan which has been already authorized. In regard to every war loan that has been issued the prospectus has intimated that the interest accruing from the bonds will be free from income tax. I cannot repudiate that arrangement, but I would point out that we have not issued any prospectus in regard to the balance of the loan that has been already authorized, which balance amounts to £27,000,000.
– I still think that I can go and buy the bonds.
– It is an inducement to people to subscribe the principal.
– The total loans issued to date do not represent more than about5 per cent, of the annual income of Australia.
– What is £100,000 !
– We are after the principal.
– When applications were invited for subscriptions to a war loan of £50,000,000, the people were given to understand that the interest derived from their war bonds would be exempt from income tax, stamp duty, and, indeed, any other form of taxation. Despite these inducements, however, and notwithstanding that the country is engaged in a life-and-death struggle, we got less than half the amount for which we asked’. Now it is proposed that all future war loans shall be launched on a less favorable market. If we tell the public that we intend to charge income tax, stamp duty, and wealth tax on all moneys invested in future war loans, shall we get the £27,000,000 which represents the balance of the loan which has already been authorized ? I do- not think so. In my opinion, it does not matter very much whether we get the money in this fashion or . not, because there is another and far more satisfactory way of raising it, which I shall’ be glad to see put into operation.
– This amendment will not impose taxation on them. It will merely leave Parliament free.
– I wish to congratulate the Senate on the change that has come over it since the last occasion when this matter was discussed. I recollect that whenSenator Mullan first moved an amendment; with a view to subjecting the interest derived from war loans to State and Federal income tax, only two honorable senators supported him. On the second occasion there were five others, who were described as fanatics, to say nothing of those who supported Senator Stewart’s proposal for the non-payment of interest on war loans. I welcome Senators Millen and Keating to the convert ranks. It appears to me only fair that income from interest on war loans should be subject to the same taxation as income from any other source. In connexion with the last loan, we invited applications for £50,000,000, but only £23,000,000 was subscribed. I should liketo see the balance of that loan subjected to State and Federal income tax. Seeing that the Commonwealth Government called for a loan of £50,000,000 for war purposes, and only £23,000,000 was subscribed, the moneyed shirkers who did not respond to the call should not be shown any consideration now.
– The amount subscribed was more than the annual income of the ‘ Commonwealth.
– I am afraid Senator Millen will not accomplish the object he has in view. There will be nothing to prevent the Government bringing down a further authorization and exempting loans to be raised under it from income tax.
– Then agree to it.
– Because it was not good enough.
Clause 10 (Deductions).
– This is a very comprehensive clause, that seems to strike at many- of the principles of the original measure. Will the Minister briefly explain its significance, purpose, and effect?
.- The first two amendments proposed make the intention of the first part of sub-section 1 of section 18 of the principal Act clearer, by specifically stating that the section deals only with assessable income, that is, income which is not exempt, and that the deductions allowable are in respect of expenditure incurred in producing the assessable income. Under amendmentc the war-time profits tax payable on the profits of a business earned in 1915-16, and which are being assessed for income tax for 1916-17, will be deductible when ascertaining the taxable income for the 1916-17 assessment. It will be noticed that the new section does not say that the deduction is to be war-time profits tax paid in the year in which the taxable income was derived. The proposal will operate so as to prevent payment of income tax on that part of the profits of the year which will be taken as war-time profits tax. It will authorize the Commissioner of Taxation to, in effect, reopen the income tax assessments based on the 1914-15 income in those cases in which war-time profits tax is also payable on that income, so as to allow refunds of income tax already assessed on that part of the profits which will be taken as war-time profits tax. That is to avoid double taxation. It is proposed to provide in the War-time Profits Tax Assessment Bill a clause authorizing the Commissioner to treat these refunds as a set-off against the amount of war-time profits tax in those cases in which, when the income tax was assessed, it was not practicable .to ascertain the amount of the war-time profits tax which would be deductible. The proviso to - amendment c is a proper one to insert in the Bill, otherwise larger deductions than are justly allowable will be allowed in all those cases in which taxpayers have received refunds on account of overpayment of any of the taxes mentioned.
Clause agreed ,to.
Clause 11 -
Section nineteen of the principal Act is repealed, and the following section inserted in its stead : - 19. (1) In the case of a person (other than a company, an’ absentee, or a person without a dependant) there shall be deducted, in addition to the sums set forth in the last preceding section, the sum of One hundred and fifty-six pounds less Five pounds for every Eleven pounds by which the income . exceeds One hundred and fifty-six pounds.
When the total taxable income consists partly of income from personal exertion and partly of income from property the deduction under this section shall be apportioned pro rata between the income from each source.
In the case of a person (not being an absentee) without a dependant there shall be deducted, in addition to the sums set forth in the last preceding section, the sum. of One hundred pounds less One pound for every, Four pounds by which the income exceeds One hundred pounds..
– We should have a statement from the “ Minister as to how the proposed alterations will affect different members of the community. No one objects to taxation for the furtherance of the war, but there has been such a material alteration in these proposals from those that were under our consideration a short while ago , that an explanation of why the disparities are approved of by the Government is called for from the Minister. Under former taxation proposals, an exemption of £156 was allowed, disappearing when the taxable income reached £1,020. It is proposed now that the exemption shall disappear when the taxable income reaches £500. We were told that the new proposals mean,t, in effect, an increase of 25 per cent, in the taxation on incomes, conveying the impression to most honorable senators that the 25 per cent, increase would be general in its application. But, in actual working, it will not have that effect. In some cases incomes will have to pay an increase of at least 100* percent.
– The Minister should be able to give us some examples.
– More than 100 per cent
– Still not quite 25 per cent.
– If anything, the increases should be graduated.
– The point raised by Senator Findley touches on the general policy with regard to exemptions. The general exemption is £156 in the case of a person, other than a company, an absentee, or a person without a dependant, and it will be reduced by £5 for every £11 increase in the taxable income over £156, until it disappears when the total taxable income from all sources reaches £500. In the case of a person not being an absentee, and having no dependants, the general exemption will be £100. This will be reduced . by £1 for every £4 by which the taxable income exceeds £100. so that the exemption will disappear when the total taxable income reaches £500. I pointed out when I was referring to this matter at the time, that the notes handed to me showed that the exemption had been altered, and that the average rate of increase was 25 per cent.
– They represent the rates so far as I am able to work them out.
– There is no doubt about that.
– The Minister’s figures show that the increase on a taxable income of £700 is as great as the increase on the taxable income of £1,000.
– We are not complaining about the weight of taxation so much as the iniquity of its incidence.
– No. The richer the man is the lighter the increase.
– It will be remembered that when we were discussing the former Income Tax Assessment Bill I asked the Minister in charge if he would give some explanation of the parabolic curve of ‘ taxation which then expressed the formula for taxing incomes, and the Minister simply assured the Senate that it was a line laid down by Mr. Knibbs. We accepted that assurance, but I did so under protest, and now what do we find ? The Government propose to increase the income tax, but instead of the curve being convex it has taken concave shape so far as certain incomes areconcerned. It is now not really a curve at all, but a sinuous line’, and, as a matter of fact, the exact increase levied upon individuals in receipt of incomes between £300 and £800 a year comes to practically the same amount in £ s. d. as the extra sum to be exacted from men with incomes of over £1,000 a year, ls this equitable? I do not think that any honorable senator can justify the incidence of this scheme. On a former occasion I deemed it necessary to criticise the formula applied to the assessment of incomes, and now, when an attempt is being made to increase the demands on the people of this country, can it be said that the call is being made in proportion to income, as was the case before this extra taxation became necessary ?
– This is another evidence of the effect of introducing legislation just at a time when honorable senators are anxious to get away to their homes ; and I can see looming in the distance the time when, if the. Government introduce measures like this, the Senate will simply adjourn over the holidays and resume to go on with the business.- Is it fair that the Senate should be asked to consider a measure like this? In the first place, the Bill brought down was just the taxing
Bill. The Government have now brought down a complicated measure which one could not thoroughly understand without devoting a day or two of solid work to the task of comparing it with the original Act. We were allowing this Bill to pass almost without any criticism when this question was raised. On the motion for the second reading of the Bill I asked the Minister, by way of interjection, whether he would give us some examples of how this proposed amendment of the Act would work out, and he replied that he would do so later on. Senator Findley had already worked out what would be the extent of the increase of taxation in respect of a number of/ incomes, and he has shown that under this proposal men who are in receipt of the smaller incomes of from £300 to £700 or £800 a year will be called upon to bear a greater share of this increased tax than will these in receipt of larger incomes. I should like to know whether the Government deliberately laid themselves out to do this. Did they merely say, “ We want an increase of 25 per cent, in the tax,” without taking care to see that the bulk of the increase would not fall upon those in receipt of the smaller incomes ? I believe it would be better either to send this Bill back to another place for further consideration or to allow the whole question to stand over till we meet again. The Bill, even if passed now, would not be put in force before the date on which it is proposed to re-assemble.
– As another place has already adjourned till to-morrow, there is no reason why we should pit all night. The honorable senator should move that progress be reported.
– I think it would be wise to report progress and allow this question to stand over till to-morrow morning. If I am any judge of the temper of the Committee I think this clause is likely to be struck out, so that the Government will do well to come prepared to-morrow with something to take its place.
Motion (by Senator Russell) proposed -
That progress be reported.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion agreed to; progress reported.
Motion (by Senator Lynch) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until 11 o’clock a.m. to-morrow.
The following paper was presented: -
The War. - Report on the Typhus Epidemic at Gardelegen, by the Government Committee on the Treatment by the Enemy of British Prisoners of War. (Paper presented to British Parliament).
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to the Senate’s amendment in this Bill.
Unemployed Military Officers. - Permanent Guard - Soldiers’ Leave - Compulsory Military Service - Reinstatement in Employment : Manifesto to Anzacs - United States Industrial . Commission - Profits of Coal Mining Companies - Tasmanian Shipping Freights and Fares.
.- I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
I wish to clear up a few arrears of work that have accumulated within the last few days. I have first a statement to make in reference to Senator Gardiner’s’ remarks concerning a number of officers who have qualified for commissions in Australia, and for whom it has been found impossible to find positions. Senator Gardiner suggested, first of all, that these officers should be sent to the front, and in the alternative that they should be sent to the Old Country, and the British authorities asked to find places for them. The honorable senator is quite justified in the anxiety he has displayed in regard to these men, but there are difficulties in the way of dealing with them satisfactorily. In the first place, the men at the front to-day who are eligible for promotion would naturally feel aggrieved if men coming fresh from Australia were placed over their heads. Then with respect to the second suggestion, we learn that in the camps in Great Britain special schools of instruction have been established for the training of men who have returned from the field of battle, and they are qualifying as commissioned and noncommissioned officers in those schools of instruction. To replace them with men sent fresh from Australia would raise just the same difficulty. It is clear, therefore, that the matter is beset with difficulties which were not apparent at the outset. Senator Millen, I believe, made the same suggestion as did Senator Gardiner.
– I can give the honorable senator specific complaints if he wants them.
– I regret the answer given by Senator Lynch as to those officers, who, at great inconvenience and expense to themselves, have qualified for commissions. I take the answer as an attempt to reply to the arguments I put forward the other day. I was not, however, putting the case with a view to argument, but simply stating a fact that was- clear to every one, namely, that this represents the tearing up of a “scrap of paper.” Here we have capable, willing young men, who are tossed aside simply because there is some present difficulty. I have no desire to prevent the men at the front from getting promotion, but we have here a number of highly-trained, efficient officers, anxious to get to the front, and it is our duty to send them there.
– I thank the Minister for Works for replying to the’ question that I addressed to him privately this afternoon in connexion with the proposal of the previous Government to send an Industrial Commission to America. On the 30th November I asked whether the Government had given further consideration to the question, and, if so, when they would be in a position to announce the personnel of the Commission. The reply I received from. Senator Pearce then Was that the matter was “ under the consideration of the Government.” To-day, however, the Minister for Works tells us that the question has not yet been considered by this Government. With all due deference to the honorable gentleman and his Government, I think it is quite time’ that the question was determined yea or nay. During the absence of the Prime Minister in England, Senator Pearce, who was Acting Prime Minister, was at a certain function in Melbourne, presided over by Mr. Brooks,, who suggested that such a Commission should be sent to America. To that suggestion the Acting Prime Minister practically agreed, and applications were called for from the different States for the nomination of representatives of employees and employers.
– This Government were not pledged to the appointment of a Commission, and it was never announced as partof their policy.
– They have not considered a number of other things besides !
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 December 1916, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1916/19161219_senate_6_80/>.